Buick Lacrosse Hybrid Headed To China… And Only China

The 2017 Buick Lacrosse Hybrid was recently unveiled at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show. As one would expect considering the venue, the new model is slated to be released in the Chinese market sometime in the relatively near future.

More interestingly, though, it now seems likely that the model will only be released in the Chinese market, rather than elsewhere as well. Why? Because there’s a need to do so in China — with the government’s new, tougher fuel efficiency standards set to begin going into effect next year (in major cities only, apparently).

Buick LaCrosse hybrid

The new 2017 Buick Lacrosse Hybrid will reportedly be based around the use of the Chevy Volt powertrain — and, more generally, of course around the redesigned 2017 Lacrosse that was debuted at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Green Car Reports provides more:

In place of that model’s 3.6-liter V-6 gasoline engine shown there, though, the Lacrosse Hybrid uses a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and a 1.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack in the trunk. Both the engine displacement and battery-pack size match those of the 2016 Chevy Malibu Hybrid.

Buick didn’t list total system output (it’s 182 horsepower in the Malibu Hybrid), but said the Lacrosse Hybrid will do 0 to 62 mph in 8.9 seconds. It also claimed estimated fuel economy of 50 mpg, likely as measured on the Chinese testing cycle. In the US, the Malibu Hybrid is rated at 46 mpg combined (47 mpg city, 46 mpg highway).

While the non-hybrid 2017 Lacrosse goes on sale here later this year, the hybrid model will probably be a China-only proposition. With the new Lacrosse and the latest Malibu based on the same underlying architecture, a hybrid version of the Lacrosse was likely a relatively easy model for Buick to add.

As mentioned above, new fuel efficiency standards — “National VI” — are slated to go into effect in select Chinese markets in 2017. And a wider rollout will commence in 2018. Previously these rules were slated to go into effect in 2020? But with worsening air pollution problems things seems to have been sped up.

As part of the new rules, car manufacturers selling in China will be required to reach a fuel efficiency fleet average of 47 miles-per-gallon (MPG) by the year 2020.

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